By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, April 6: There is no reason for Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing to apologise to Sabahans for his 5 per cent oil and gas sales tax remark.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) supreme council member Wilson Nyabong Ijang said the party president was merely “highlighting a fact”.
“(Datuk) Peter Anthony should not raise this issue and ask Masing to apologise, as they have some pertinent issues to solve in Sabah especially the illegal immigrants issue,” he told DayakDaily.
According to the Pelagus assemblyman, Masing was saying that both Sabah and Sarawak leaders must fight for their rights together and not let Sarawak fight for the 5 per cent sales tax for petroleum products alone.
“Now they (Sabah leadership) want to gain support from the Sabahans. Last time, they were with the federal government. Now that they are in the opposition, they dare to talk. Before this, they were not fighting for it with Sarawak (on the 5 per cent petroleum sales tax),” he opined.
Nyabong echoed Masing’s remark, which described Sabah leadership were merely wanting to maintain a “good boy” image with Putrajaya.
“That’s why they have been silent (on imposing the petroleum sales tax on oil and gas companies operating in Sabah). Now they will benefit from it.
“Masing is a person who speaks his mind and tell the people that we must fight together. This is because, in many instances, Sabah leadership is not consistent with regards to this matter,” he continued.
DayakDaily reported Masing as saying on Friday (April 3) that both Sabah and Sarawak should stand together in demanding their rights in accordance to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), especially in the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products.
“It seems that Sabah is just practising a ‘wait and see’ attitude, when it comes to fighting for its rights. If Sarawak can get those rights, Sabah just jump in and claim as if it was their effort to make it happen.
“Sabah and Sarawak must learn to fight without fear and favour for what are rightfully ours. My advice to Sabah, please stand like a man for your rights. Don’t ride on Sarawak coattail all the time,” Masing said.
The deputy chief minister was also reported as saying that Sabah seemed to be unwilling to fight for its rights as it preferred to keep its “good boy” image.
What Masing said has caught the attention of Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony, who demanded Masing to apologise to Sabahans over his remarks.
Anthony was reported by an online news portal Borneo Daily as saying that such remark has created tension between the two Bornean states.
He claimed that Sabah could not follow Sarawak’s step in imposing the 5 per cent sales tax, as it has no existing state laws to do so. Sabah can only imposed the 5 per cent sales tax after it amended Section 4 of its Land Ordinance (chapter 68) in 2018.
In a circular dated April 1, the Sabah government has started to impose 5 per cent sales tax on oil and gas companies operating there, while Sarawak has already done so since January 2019.
Sarawak is expected to earn RM3.9 billion annually from the tax. — DayakDaily